Thursday, February 18, 2021

Tomorrow's veg boxes

106 veg boxes this week....

Small boxes (£7) - potatoes, kale, carrots, salad leaves, beetroot, and cauliflower.

Standard boxes (£11) - all the above, plus jerusalem artichokes, Oriental greens (komatsuna, pak choi, giant red mustard, Chinese cabbage), swede, and extra kale.

Our own produce - salad leaves, beetroot, jerusalem artichokes, Oriental greens.

Local organic produce - potatoes, kale, cauliflower, swede.

UK organic produce - carrots.

One week later

What a difference a week makes! Spring is back with us.... Last week we harvested with snow on the ground, in sub-zero conditions, in the teeth of an easterly gale - this week we ate lunch outside in the sunshine!

18th February.

9th February.

Monday, February 15, 2021

2021 weather so far

7th January - a light frost on the farm.

9th January - winter sunshine breaking through rushes into a polytunnel.

21st January - Dee picking spring greens, with hail sat on the wondermesh.

4th February - flooding behind one of the polytunnels.

5th February - mud everywhere!

5th February - fields of dafodils near St. Buryan (seen on our veg box delivery round).

9th February - Rob in the Propagation Station covered in snow.

9th February - snow in the farmyard.

Veg boxes Friday 5th February

We dug up and used all of our gorgeous mooli radishes (daikon) from a polytunnel for veg boxes on the 5th, and we didn't have enough, so we pulled all our polytunnel carrots too, and there weren't enough, so we picked some purple kohl rabis too to get us over the line....

Hector and Polly digging up the entire crop of mooli radishes.

Every veg box also got a local cauliflower from Cargease Organics.

Mooli out on Thursday, the two empty polytunnel beds planted with mange-tout on the Saturday, one month after sowing them (600 seedlings).

Packing veg boxes on Thursday 4th.

Azur Star kohl rabi growing in the polytunnels.

Extreme harvesting

Last week was one of the hardest weeks we've ever had on the farm for getting enough produce together for veg boxes. The freezing weather conditions kept some of our regular volunteers away from the farm, made some of our residential WWOOFers too ill to help, and made the actual harvesting a painful chore. Plus we had 135 boxes to put together, the highest number since last July...

This is a video of our "extreme chard picking" last Thursday morning, in sub-zero conditions in the teeth of an easterly gale....
Collecting eggs on Wednesday morning,

Wanchi and Andy digging up potatoes on Wednesday morning.

Wanchi, Hector and Polly, trying to warm up a little before heading out for more chard.
Many thanks to everybody who managed to help pick and pack this week - Polly, Andy, Wanchi, Hector, Ian, Ben, Ailsa and Nick.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

First butterfly of 2021

As the weather turns significantly colder, we've just seen the first butterfly of the year up in the chicken field - we think it's a small tortoiseshell. Thanks to Polly for the photo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Hardening-off area

Once we've germinated seeds and raised plants in our Propagation Station polytunnel, we harden them off outside - if they are to be outdoor rather than polytunnel plants (see below) - before planting them out in the fields. The hardening off area has grown piecemeal over the past decade, using old tables, chairs, benches, pallets etc... and was in serious need of an overhaul. Another job for the winter. First we cleared the area completely, then we dug out the perennial weed roots (dock, dandelion, nettle), laid a weed suppressant membrane, and finally rebuilt the benches in a much more organised and spacious manner.

The area all cleared and ready to rebuild.

Our new array of four long hardening-off benches.

We produce our veg in nine ways:-

  1. Sow in trays in the hot-bed, then harden off inside the propagation tunnel, before transplanting to final positions inside another polytunnel (aubergines, peppers, chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers, French beans).
  2. Sow in trays in the propagation tunnel, then transplant to final positions inside another polytunnel (salads, lettuces, herbs, green sprouting broccoli, oriental greens, spinach, mange-tout).
  3. Sow in trays in the propagation tunnel, then harden off outside, before transplanting to final positions in the field (kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens, runner beans, peas, salads).
  4. Sow in trays in the hot bed, harden off first in the propagation tunnel and then outside, before transplanting to final positions outside (courgettes, squash, globe artichokes).
  5. Direct sow into the polytunnels (radishes, rocket, carrots, mooli).
  6. Direct sow into the fields (chard, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, swede).
  7. Plant into the field from sets (onions, shallots) or tubers (potatoes, jerusalem artichokes).
  8. Plant into a polytunnel from sets (garlic).
  9. Allow perennial plants to reproduce or self-seed naturally (kale, purple sprouting broccoli, jerusalem artichokes, parsley, lamb's lettuce, tree spinach, elephant garlic, chervil).

When I started that list there were only four ways, and it ended with nine, so there are probably more that I've missed, and definitely crops that I've forgotten to include...